Police yesterday nabbed five men suspected of being part of a vehicle theft and smuggling syndicate.
BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
The thieves were caught after they allegedly smuggled a stolen white Toyota Hilux single cab vehicle from South Africa and drove it to Zimbabwe, but they ran out of fuel along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the arrest.
“A white Toyota Hilux single cab was stolen in South Africa on December 3 and it was driven to Zimbabwe. Police managed to arrest five suspects in Mazunga area,” Nyathi said without naming them.
“The area where they were arrested is 255km along Bulawayo-Beitbridge Road, after the vehicle had run out of fuel. Investigations are still in progress.”
Nyathi said they had received a report from the South African side that a hired car had gone missing.
“We received a report that a white Hilux which belonged to a car rental company had been hired on December 3 and was supposed to be returned on December 4. The car was not returned and on December 5 a report was made to the Beitbridge Police that a vehicle was missing.
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“The five were caught when they tried to refuel the car after they had run out of fuel. Investigations are still ongoing.”
In 2018, a 63-year-old South African national Willem Schalk Janzen-Root was jailed for seven years in Zimbabwe over vehicle smuggling charges.
Janzen-Root was believed to be part of a vehicle trafficking syndicate which uses Zimbabwe as a transit route for luxury cars from South Africa for resale in other countries. Follow Praisemore on Twitter @TPraisemore